Headlines: National Commission – Meeting 5; NOAA – protection of marine mammals during Navy training; MARAD – contract awarded for recycling of Suisun Bay ships; Sabine-Neches Waterway – funding for dredging placement area repairs; Potomac River – proposed expansion of danger zone; Menominee River – proposed restricted area; Court – piracy does not have to be successful to be prosecuted; Australia – incident reporting; Australia – fitness for duty; Australia – investigation of enclosed space entry fatality; Kiribati – four individuals rescued after international search; Mexico – response to cruise ship casualty continues; UK – examination of fatal accident during unloading; North Sea – engine room fire disables standby vessel; Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day; and SS Edmund Fitzgerald – November 10, 1975.
November 10, 2010
Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting - 4845 SW 91st Way - Gainesville, FL 32608-8135 - USA
Note: This blog is one section of the Bryant’s Maritime Consulting website. Visit the site for more extensive maritime regulatory information. Individual concerns may be addressed by retaining Dennis Bryant directly. Much of the highlighted text in this newsletter constitutes links to Internet sites providing more detailed information. Links on this page may be in PDF format, requiring use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Comments on these postings are encouraged and may be made by clicking the envelope that appears at the end of each posting. Be aware that the daily blog entry is a single posting, even though it contains a number of individual items. He who is lost, hesitates.
National Commission – Meeting 5
The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling conducted Meeting 5 on November 8-9, 2010 in Washington, DC. The primary focus of the hearing is on the causes of the rig explosion. The Commission posted Preliminary Conclusions regarding technical aspects of the incident, as well as a Presentation regarding the casualty. (11/9/10).
NOAA – protection of marine mammals during Navy training
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that it issued regulations and a letter of authorization to the US Navy that includes measures to protect marine mammals while conducting training exercises off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and northern California. Among other things, safety zones will be established around each vessel using mid-frequency tactical sonar in order to protect marine mammals that might be in the vicinity. (11/9/10).
MARAD – contract awarded for recycling of Suisun Bay ships
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a news release stating that it awarded two contracts for a total of $3.1 million to clean and recycle two obsolete ships from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet. (11/9/10).
Sabine-Neches Waterway – funding for dredging placement area repairs
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a news release stating that it provided funding in the amount of $8.7 million to the Sabine-Neches Navigation District to finance repairs to dredging placement areas that were damaged during Hurricane Ike. Dredging is necessary to keep the Sabine-Neches ship channels functional and locations for deposit of the dredged material are vital to this process. (11/8/10).
Potomac River – proposed expansion of danger zone
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposes to expand the danger zone in the Potomac River at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren, Virginia. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by December 10. 75 Fed. Reg. 69032 (November 10, 2010).
Menominee River – proposed restricted area
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposes to establish a restricted area in the Menominee River at the Marinette Marine Corporation Shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by December 10. 75 Fed. Reg. 69034 (November 10, 2010).
Court – piracy does not have to be successful to be prosecuted
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied a motion submitted by defendant Somalis seeking dismissal of one count of a multi-count indictment relating to their April 1, 2010 assault upon the USS Nicholas, a Navy frigate. Defendants contended that, because they never boarded or stole anything from the frigate, they could not have committed the crime of piracy, which carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. After conducting an extensive review of the international law of piracy, the court concluded that the crime of general piracy only requires: (1) an act of acts of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship, (2) with knowledge of the facts making it a pirate ship and/or (1) an act or acts of inciting or of intentionally facilitating, (2) any illegal act of violence or detention, or any act of depredation committed for private ends on the high seas by the crew of a pirate ship directed against another ship or against persons or property on board such ship. United States v. Hasan, No. 2:10cr56 (E.D. Va., October 29, 2010). Note: This decision was brought to my attention by my good friend John Cartner of Cartner & Fisk LLC. This ruling should be compared with the decision in United States v. Said, No. 2:10cr57 (E.D. Va., August 17, 2010) where another judge on similar facts found that attempted piracy could not be prosecuted under the piracy statute.
Australia – incident reporting
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice reminding masters and owner/operators of the requirement to report general incidents (accidents, damage to ships, injuries to crew, etc.), incidents involving the loss or likely loss of dangerous goods, and marine pollution incidents to the AMSA. Marine Notice 17/2010 (11/4/10).
Australia – fitness for duty
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice reminding operators, masters, and officers of the requirement to comply with the fitness for duty provisions of the STCW Convention, including hours of work/rest. Fatigue of crews presents a serious threat to health, safety, and the environment. While some flexibility with respect to hours of rest is allowed under the Convention for overriding operational conditions, the AMSA does not consider that this extends to the normal operations of the ship, such as port arrivals, berthing/unberthing, cargo operations, etc. Marine Notice 18/2010 (11/4/10).
Australia – investigation of enclosed space entry fatality
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued the report of its investigation into the death of the chief mate of a chemical tanker who died after entering an enclosed space without taking appropriate precautions. The chief mate, a mariner with many years experience on tankers, died while apparently inspecting a tank that had recently been cleaned. He did not tell anyone of his plans and did not complete an enclosed space entry form, contrary to his usual practice. The investigation was unable to determine why the chief mate did not follow standard procedure on this occasion. MO-2009-010 (11/10/10).
Kiribati – four missing individuals rescued after international search
Maritime New Zealand issued a media release stating that it coordinated the international search for four people missing in a small boat after departing the island of Ukiangang for the nearby Tikurere Islet in Kiribati. A Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft located the individuals and the USCGC Rush was diverted to the scene. The individuals were treated for exposure and brought safely to shore. The US Coast Guard issued a news release summarizing the incident. (11/8/10).
Mexico – response to cruise ship casualty continues
The US Coast Guard issued a news release stating that the response to the cruise ship casualty off the coast of Mexico continues. The ship lost power after an engine room fire. It will be towed to Ensenada for disembarkation of passengers. The ship will then go its homeport of Long Beach for repairs. A second news release states that a Coast Guard boarding party has been placed on the cruise ship and that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is en route to deliver supplies. (11/9/10).
UK – examination of fatal accident during unloading
The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) posted the summary of its Preliminary Examination into circumstances surrounding the death of a crew member on board a self-discharging bulk carrier at Northfleet on 4 October 2010. The individual died while working adjacent to the roller in the conveyor belt tunnel. Examination revealed that the ship had no written risk assessments and there was no written job description for the deceased. The owner has since installed enhanced guarding around the conveyor belt machinery. (11/9/10).
North Sea – engine room fire disables standby vessel
The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice stating that a gas platform standby vessel in the North Sea suffered an engine room fire during heavy weather. The fire has been extinguished, but the vessel has only regained power to one engine. (11/9/10).
Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day
Tomorrow, November 11, will be marked as the 92nd anniversary of the signing of the armistice ending World War I - the war to end all wars, as it was proclaimed at the time. The day is commemorated as Veterans Day in the United States; as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth nations; and as Armistice Day in France and Belgium. On this day, we also should remember the sacrifices of our military personnel, as well as those of the merchant marine who delivered vital supplies across dangerous seas in time of war.
SS Edmund Fitzgerald – November 10, 1975
On November 10, 1975, the laker Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior with a loss of all 29 hands. It was one of the largest ships on the Great Lakes, carrying over 26,000 tons of taconite ore between Duluth/Superior and the steel mills to the south. The “Fitz” had departed on November 9 in tandem with another laker, but sailed directly into an early winter storm. It sank suddenly, without making a distress call, at about 7:30 p.m., in heavy snow with winds gusting to hurricane force and seas exceeding 30 feet in height. Gordon Lightfoot memorialized the casualty in his hit song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”.
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – November 2010